The coronavirus outbreak and the past months of living through various levels of Lockdown has sent parents and their children home from work and school, and in some cases, back to school and back home and back to school. You get the picture.

Many of us are trying to establish new rules to help with the transition and figure out how to remain productive in a completely transformed ‘office’ environment. For families that are able to work and learn remotely, technology can help you through the crisis.

Every family needs a CTO – that person who will make the decisions about the tech infrastructure at home and ensure it is aligned with the needs of the adults and the kids in the home. In my case, I have 3 kids and I am an advocate of technology in general and what it can do to change the world and our experience of it. In our home we try to create a space where we encourage our children to learn and grow through the use of technology and, because of the dangers that I know of first-hand, I want to protect them to the best of my abilities.

The tech industry has been remarkable in the way it has stepped up to combat the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of people everywhere. If you are fortunate enough to be able to create a technology-enabled home, there are a few things you can do to make working from home (WFH) safer, more practical and more comfortable, without spending a fortune, or in some cases, at no expense at all.

A good wireless router, usually supplied by an ISP as part of your Internet package, will give you fast performance and offer enough range for the home, even with several bandwidth-hogging devices. Multiple users with multiple devices need to run on at least 100 Mbps download speeds to have a decent experience. For security reasons, change the admin password on your router when it arrives and then again from time to time.

To ensure that your kids don’t eat up all your bandwidth streaming movies while you’re on yet another Microsoft Teams meeting, it’s a good idea to set up a second network on the router, so that their activities don’t have an impact on yours. This will also help if you need to give your kids a forced break from screen time while you continue working. It’s also essential to ensure that your children experience a balanced study-from-home experience and managing both their bandwidth usage and screen time will play a key role in their wellbeing over this time.

Security and privacy are major concerns for technology-enabled homes. Website security company Cloudflare secures family networks with a free app on your mobile device or DNS redirection on your router that replaces the connection between your device and the Internet with a modern, optimised protocol. It blocks malicious and adult content while also improving network performance.

More information on securing your home network is available here and remember that your Internet service provider will no doubt be happy to assist you in securing your home network.

For keeping your kids safer online, try Kaspersky Safe Kids, iOS’s Screen Time, Google’s Family Link, Microsoft’s Family Safety and OurPact a comprehensive parental control and family locator app.

References:

https://1.1.1.1/

https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/securing-key-accounts-devices/securing-home-network/

https://www.kaspersky.co.za/safe-kids

https://support.apple.com/en-za/HT208982

https://families.google.com/familylink/

https://account.microsoft.com/family/about

https://ourpact.com/

[Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels]